Service providers 'highly committed' to virtualising messaging services, says research

Nearly 70% of service providers plan to virtualise some or all of their messaging platforms within the next four years, according to a study.

Produced for technology company Xura, the research conducted by Heavy Reading assessed the progress, market timing, business and technical drivers of the virtualisation of messaging services.

Services include a range of fixed and mobile services, such as spam and fraud messaging control solutions, voicemail systems, WebRTC, rich communication services, IP messaging and unified communications as well as MMS and SMS.

Communications service providers have been launching messaging services for over a decade and while the market is said to have contributed significantly to revenues, service providers are facing increasing competition from the cloud-based offerings from OTTs.

“As a result, over the past three years both mobile and fixed CSPs have taken bold steps to virtualise their networks through the implementation of network functions virtualisation (NFV),” said the study. 

Service providers ranked operational efficiency as the key driver in their move to virtualise messaging platforms, followed by network scalability and elasticity, application consolidation and enhanced security. 

The research also found that SMS is the top priority of short-term virtualisation (27%) this year, followed by spam and fraud messaging control (22%) and IP messaging and unified communications (21%). 

In addition, there is also a realisation by service providers that virtualisation will be needed to beef up their security capabilities. As a result, they will look to rely heavily on vendors to deliver virtualised messaging platforms that support those capabilities. 

When assessing virtualised messaging vendor services, scalability and security emerged as the top two factors (both 76%) most important to service providers. They were followed by virtualisation product roadmap (59%), RFP compliance (49%) and so-called 'solution openness', including third-party management and orchestration (47%). 

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